Flowery flavor and aromatics for your artisanal home brew.
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Hops: Potted Perennial Plant
How to Plant
Planting Potted Plants:
- Choose a location in full sun with well-drained soil with no standing water. Be sure to have your support in place as the vines grow quite long. A trellis or pergola would work very well.
- Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 6-12 inches removing any debris, and lightly raking as level as possible.
- The addition of organic matter (leaf mold, compost, well-rotted manure) benefits all gardens and is essential in recently constructed neighborhoods. Hops prefer a pH of 6.5-8.0, add any amendments to raise the pH at this time.
- Plant on a cloudy day or in late afternoon to reduce transplant shock.
- Dig a hole at least twice the size of the root ball. Space plants 3 feet apart.
- Unpot the plant and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root growth.
- Set the plant in the hole so that the root ball is level with the surrounding soil line. After the plant is set into the hole, backfill and push the soil firmly into the hole cavity.
- Water deeply; the water will seal off any air pockets around the root ball.
- Mulch the area around the hole to a depth of 2-3 inches.
- Use the marker to indicate where the plant is planted.
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their germination.
- Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For perennials, an organic mulch of aged bark or shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
- Careful watering is essential in getting perennials off to a good start. Water thoroughly at least once a week to help new roots grow down deeply. Soil should be damp at about 1 inch below the soil surface. You can check this by sticking your finger in the soil. Water early in the morning to give all leaves enough time to dry. One inch of rain or watering per week is recommended for most perennial plants. You can check to see if you need to add water by using a rain gauge.
- In spring before any leaves sprout, fertilize with a slow release fertilizer designed for flowering plants. Most new growth will come from the plant’s crown, from under the soil.
- Plants use a lot of energy in spring when growth begins, so do not let plants dry out.
- Hops requires 120 frost free days in order to bloom. Do not expect many flowers the first year you plant hops.
- Hops makes a great privacy screen in summer. The vines grow up to 25 feet long annually from the crown.
- Hops die back to the ground each fall. Cut back after frost kills the vines.
- To produce flowers hops needs 120 frost-free days. Vigorous vines can produce up to 2 lbs. of dried flowers per plant.
- The second year, when vines are about 1 foot tall, select 2-3 strong shoots and wrap them clockwise around a trellis or pole. Cut back weak shoots at ground level.
- Avoid getting water on foliage to prevent disease issues.
- Harvest green cones in late summer. Judge their readiness by feeling and smelling the cones. Cones that are too green to pick are slightly damp and soft and stay compressed when squeezed. They will be light, dry and feel papery when they are ready to pick. Your hands will pick up the smell and stickiness of the powder lupulin. Once harvested hops need to be dried for about three days at temperatures no higher than 140 degrees F. When ready to store, dry hops are springy and the lupulin powder will fall off. Store in a freezer in well-compressed sealed plastic bags.